Help resolving lawn overrun with fig buttercups

Asked February 21, 2018, 11:14 AM EST

How can I, a homeowner in Silver Spring with a large back yard overrun with fig buttercups, prevent them from growing and spreading further this spring--especially into neighbors' yards? We have dogs, so would prefer a non-poisonous method of getting rid of the fig buttercups: Dig them out with a shovel and put them in trash bags for disposal, hire a company to remove and resod, cover with plastic tarps, put mulch everywhere? We used to have zoysia grass that grew well, but now there are fig buttercups in the spring, then wild violets and creeping charlie. Our yard is doomed. Can you help me?

Montgomery County Maryland

1 Response

We hear your pain.
Fig buttercup, a.k.a. Lesser Celendine is an awful invasive which is challenging to control. Here is our page on it, with links to others as well: Whatever control you decide to use will likely be a multi year effort.
Digging it up is labor intensive. It is a very tough plant, which can come back from any bulbs left. (NEVER till an area- will grow from little pieces.) Replanting an area with sod or other plants (preferably natives) is good.

For a large area, it might be worth it to use an herbicide containing the active ingredient Triclopyr, following all label instructions, including how to protect animals.
Given how difficult fig buttercups are and how quickly it disappears, this is often recommended. Professional applicators can access commercial control products that may be a higher rate of control.